Frequently asked questions:
What immunizations are the children required to have?
In accordance with California law SB 277, all students are required to have the full range of the immunizations completed PRIOR to enrollment in preschool. Personal Belief Forms, submitted after December 21, 2015, are no longer accepted. The ONLY exception to the law is a medical exemption. Please find all the details regarding required school immunizations at the following links:
How do I apply for The Sunshine Shack if I am interested in attending?
If you are interested in our school, you must first attend a school tour. We send everyone that has attended the tour an email with an online application. Once the application has been filled out, there are some brief questions we ask about your family in hopes to get a sense of who you are. The application fee is $100.00
What is the next step after I fill out the online application?
After we have read your application, we will invite you back for an informal group discussion with other parents that have applied and the director for a coffee morning discussion. The topic of the discussion will be focused and inspired by the values we base our curriculum and philosophy. It is a chance for us to get to know you as a parent(s) and decide if The Sunshine Shack is the right fit for your family. This is also an opportunity to ask any important questions you might have more specifically about the school.
Choosing the right preschool is a very important decision and we feel this forum is the best way for applying parents who wish to choose the school they feel the most connected.
When do I find out if there is a spot for me?
How many spots are available is dependent on how many siblings we have coming in for that school year. Once we have confirmation from current and previous sibling families, we will begin to offer spots to applying families by email. Once you have your acceptance email, you will have one week to register and pay the deposit. If you do not register within the given timeframe, your spot will be given away.
Is there a waitlist?
If we do not have a spot for you, but want to accept you, we will put you on our waitlist. This can change at any time and a spot can become available right up before the start of the school year.
If we do not think your family is a good fit, you will receive an email stating that we do not have a spot at this time.
If your child has a late summer or September birthday, but we still wish to offer you a spot, we will defer your family for the following year. We will have you pay the deposit and register nine months before your child is due to start in the fall.
Is the deposit refundable?
The deposit is NON refundable under any circumstances. The deposit is $2,000 for all families. The deposit for new incoming families is made up of the $1000 new family registration fee and $1000, which is applied toward the first tuition payment. The full $2,000 deposit for returning families is applied toward the first tuition payment. Even if your spot is filled once you have turned it down, you will NOT receive a deposit refund.
What are the hours of operation?
We are open from 8:45am-2:30pm.
After care is available Mon-Thurs from 2:35-4:00pm
The 2-3 year olds – morning program - are on site Mon-Fri from 8:45am-12:30pm.
The 2-3 year olds – extended day program - are on site Mon-Fri from 8:45am -2:30pm.
The 3-4 and 4-5 year olds are on site Mon-Fri from 8:45am-2:30pm.
How many days a week do the youngest children come to school?
Room 1 – morning program and extended day children come to school five days a week.
Room 2 & 3 children come to school five days a week.
We believe children need the consistency of coming every day to help them transition into school.
What is your child/teacher ratio?
Our child teacher ratio is one teacher to six children for ages 2-3 and one teacher to seven/eight children for ages 4-5.
What is the tuition?
Our annual tuition for our 2-3 year old – morning program - is $16,350 per year.
Our annual tuition for our 2-3 year old – extended day program - is $19,350 per year.
Annual tuition for our 3-4 and 4-5 year old classrooms is $16,660 per year.
There is a $1,000 new family fee in addition to tuition.
What calendar months are you open?
Our school operates 11 calendar months per year from August to end of June. We have a summer program that is available for three weeks during July.
Does my child have to be toilet learned?
We value that each child learns to use the toilet when they are developmentally ready and we do not base this readiness on age. When the children begin school at the age 2, we work with the families to create consistency from home to school so that the connection is made and the child feels confident in the process. We believe that learning to use the toilet is a process that takes time, patience, and acceptance for where the child is.
What is the educational background of the teachers?
All of our teachers have their California credentials for Early Childhood Education. We value the professional development of all of our teachers and support them by creating an individual plan to continue their knowledge in the field. We provide on sight trainings, outside professional development opportunities, teacher book club, and evaluations to further their development as early childhood professionals. Our belief is that education is a constant journey and we implement this belief into our systems by creating professional portfolios for all of our teachers that show their accomplishments in furthering their knowledge.
Do you have an emergency plan?
The administration has a documented plan of the facility evacuation for the entire staff to follow in case of fire, earth quake, or terrorist attack. Each staff member is trained on the protocol of our plan. The entire school participates in monthly Emergency Drills and we have on sight emergency earthquake kits for each child and staff member, each classroom is equipped with emergency back packs in case of an evacuation, and we refresh the emergency drill protocol regularly. The director has a system in place that enables her text the entire school if the situation arises.
Are your teacher’s CPR trained?
Yes. Each teacher has a current CPR certificate. Every two years we receive a refresher course of the require CPR training. There are emergency back packs in each classroom as well as First Aid kits in each classroom and outside as well.
How do parents receive information?
We value face to face communication with parents to share information about the child’s experience at school. However, for some parents this is difficult so we have class blogs that send home information and weekly reflection pages. These reflection pages are a way for the parents to be a part of the classroom process and reflect on the learning that is taking place. As well as being sent home on the blogs, the weekly reflection pages are posted on the class bulletin boards and are available for parents to view.
A weekly newsletter is sent out by the administration to the parents to remind them of school events on the calendar.
Do you offer field trips?
We value that children learn the best when it is in context of what they know and are interested in. With children aged 3 and up it is possible a field trip would be planned if it is a valuable piece to expand their learning of a class project. We rely on heavy parent volunteering for these field trips.
As a preschool that is a part of its immediate community, we take the children on regular walking trips around the neighborhood. We have established relationships with members of our community and think it is important to teach the children about where the context of their school is. We have parents sign a general consent form at the beginning of each school year and if a walking trip is to take place parents will have prior warning. These walking trips take place in small groups with 1-2 teachers and a parent.
The oldest children only take part in walking trips.
Do you do fundraising?
Our fundraising committee helps organize events throughout the school year. Some of our events in the past have included a garage sale, mystery dinners, clothing and book swap and an event at Soul Cycle! At the end of each year, we also hold an off sight Art Auction. At this event we auction group artwork by the children for both money and items the school needs.
Our school also has an Annual Give every Fall. All earnings from our Annual Give go into the Sunshine Shack Tuition Assistance and Scholarship Fund. These funds are allocated to families in our Shack community that may need tuition assistance and to help offer scholarships to prospective families that may otherwise not have the means to attend our school.
Fundraising is an essential part for the school’s operation and we look to not only current families, but also alumni and outside resources.
Do you offer parent education?
We value parent education and offer many opportunities for parents to take part in such events. There are opportunities for parents to attend classes here at school on anything from parenting to choosing a good elementary school. We also offer a parent book club and once a year we host an event of a favorite parenting author to be a guest speaker. This event is also open to the outside community.
Do you offer anything for the nannies?
We offer a nanny education program that meets here at school. This is an opportunity for the nannies of our families to learn about child development, discipline tools, communication, and also allows for them to support one another in their jobs.
What are your policies on discipline?
We value that all children are in the process of learning how to make choices that will enable them to be better self-regulated in the context of a group, learn how to follow directions, and practice how to have conflict resolution. We create an environment that allows children to practice these skills in a peaceful and nurturing way that is free of shame. We set boundaries and create natural consequences if the boundaries are broken and model for the children how to handle frustration. We aspire to work together with the children to make better choices.
How do you handle conflict resolution?
We value conflict resolution and self-regulation as important life skills that are learned as a part of children’s development during the ages they are at preschool. We believe that these skills are taken with them through life if given the opportunity to learn them in a safe environment. When children have conflicts we take the opportunity to model the correct language that can validate their feelings and empower them to figure out resolutions on their own eventually. We offer children in conflict the “peace mats” to sit together and resolve their differences peacefully.
Do you offer scholarships?
We have limited funds to offer breaks on the tuition for families that may need it but do offer some assistance. These funds are raised through our Annual Give and are allocated to a limited amount of families.
Do you have aftercare?
For children ages 3 and up we offer aftercare from 2:35-4:00pm Monday-Thursday. Aftercare is separate charge from tuition and is added to your monthly invoice. You may sign up on a regular basis or use when needed. After care is $20 per day.
Do you offer enrichment classes?
We offer music as a part of our program during school hours. We also offer enrichment classes such as tinkering, cooking, dance, improv, photography and film after school for an additional fee. These classes typically run one day per week from 2:45-3:30PM.
Do you offer Parent & Me/Toddler Classes?
Parent & Me classes are for ages 18-36 months. Classes run 3:00-4:30PM, Wednesdays. Class enrolls for the full September-May term. 34-week sessions are $1,500.
Toddler Transitions classes are for ages 18-36 months. Classes run 2:45-4:30PM, Tuesdays & Thursdays. Class enrolls for the full September-May term. 36-week sessions are $3,800.
Atelier to You (our Shack portable classroom) is for ages 18-36 months. Class run 9:00-11:30AM, Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday. Classes enroll in two sessions, September-December and January-March. 13-week sessions are $1,950.
*Additional information on these programs can be found under the Admissions tab.
Do you offer sibling discounts?
We do not offer sibling discounts. Our class sizes are too small to be able to offer any such discounts.
How do you handle separation?
We value the separation process as an important milestone in your child’s life and work to create a community of trust with each family. We value that the child has to first attach to have a healthy separation and we work to create this attachment with several steps involved. We require each new parent to attend three mandatory orientations, have a home visit for each child (teachers come to the home and visit with the child in their setting), and allow for parents to stay to help with the transition while the trust between the teachers and the children is taking place. The amount of time the parent stays is individual for each family and can be anywhere from one week to six weeks.
How can parents be involved in the community?
We have several parent committees here at school and require each family to serve on at least one committee. Some of our committees include gardening, library, school beautification, tour, parent education, fundraising, community outreach, etc. These committees form our involved parent body and tight knit community that care and uplift our school and its environment.
Do you provide the snack at the school?
The Sunshine Shack splits snack responsibility with the parents. The school provides a grain and a beverage and the parents sign up to bring in fresh fruits and veggies each week. It is important part of a child’s school experience to engage in making a snack at home with their parent and sharing it with their class.
Snack is an important part of teaching children about self-regulation and autonomy. The snack we serve is in glass dishes with serving utensils and consists of items like whole wheat pita and hummus, carrots and sunflower seed butter, and cucumbers and crackers. Water is available to the children at all times.
Do the children that stay until 2:30pm have a rest period?
Children that are in the 3-4 and 4-5 year old classes will have a quiet time available to them after lunch but naptime is not required.
If children are interested in a nap or rest time at school, we require that all families buy a certain type and size of mat, (that we provide online ordering information for), so that they can be stored easily. Children that nap are taken to rest at 1:00pm.
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